Starting a Business in the New Year?

Starting a Business in the New Year?

Are you going to be starting up a new business in the coming year? This is a big endeavor, and you’ve likely been planning the launch of your company for a while now. However, as prepared as you might believe yourself to be, you might be forgetting one of the major pieces of the puzzle. If you don’t have an attorney working on your behalf, you might find that you are facing more risk than you should be.

Why Work with an Attorney?

Risk is a constant part of business, and when you choose to work with attorneys who are experienced in the field, they can minimize those potential issues and protect your business assets. Consider some of the many ways that working with a lawyer will help.

From the state, working with an attorney can help ease some of the confusion that comes when starting a business. They can help you understand the various forms of business, from sole proprietorships to partnerships, LLCs, and corporations, and let you know which is best for your business. They can help you get it set up, so you can start doing business.

Attorneys will ensure that your business operates according to federal, state, and local laws. It can often be difficult for new business owners to fully understand all of the various legal requirements involved when it comes to employees, property, etc.

The attorney can write up and review independent contractor agreements, as well as employment contracts. This will ensure that you are doing everything according to the law. They can also create non-compete agreements for your employees, create executive compensation agreements, partnership agreements, and more.

The attorney can review all contracts that come your way and can create contracts that you might need for suppliers, contractors, and more. They will review documents and deals to ensure they are in your best interests.

Find a Quality Attorney

As you can see, choosing to use an attorney for your business rather than going at it on your own makes sense. You can focus on your business rather than all of the legal minutia.

When you are choosing an attorney for your business, think about the type of business you are operating and how an attorney might be helpful. Take the time to speak with an attorney about your business to get a better sense of the various ways they can help make aspects of your business easier to manage.

Step Up Your Real Estate Investment Game with an Attorney

Step Up Your Real Estate Investment Game with an Attorney

Are you a real estate investor, or do you want to get into the field? It has the potential to be a wonderful, lucrative business. However, it’s not something that you want to do on your own. If you want to make the process easier and truly step up your game, consider working with an attorney that knows and understands this business. They can help in a host of ways, whether you have been investing for years or you are new to the field. Let’s look at how they can assist.

Drafting and Reading Contracts

Attorneys know and understand the complexity of contracts of all sorts. They can take care of drafting various contracts that you may need, and they can read contracts that are sent to you, letting you know if there are any potential issues. Along the same lines, the attorney can help with the drafting of leases, ensuring that they are legal and binding. This ensures that you don’t make any mistakes that could end up costing you later. The attorney will review all of the sales and loans documents to make certain they are correct, as well.

If you hate trying to parse all of the paperwork that comes along with real estate investing, working with an attorney will help to make the process easier from start to finish. This means less hassle for you, and it could mean better investments and higher profits.


Attorneys tend to be excellent when it comes to negotiation. With certain types of negotiation that occur with real estate investments, such as handling inspection requests and modifications to the contract, an attorney will be valuable. They will save time and can often ensure you have a better outcome than you would if you were on your own.

Attend Closing

The attorney can attend closing with their clients, or even on behalf of their clients. This can be beneficial if you find that you aren’t able to get to closing for one reason or another.

These are just some of the ways that working with one of these professionals can help. When you choose to work with a real estate attorney, it gives you peace of mind. They can help you navigate through the challenging legal process of buying and selling properties, reducing your risks, and helping to ensure that your investments are properly protected. Take the time to get in touch with a real estate attorney to talk about your investment business today.

Learn What Your Home’s Inspection Must Cover

Learn What Your Home’s Inspection Must Cover

A home inspection is often required before you close on your new home. When you are getting ready to buy or sell a home, an inspection of the property’s major systems is essential to help determine its overall condition.

The Home Inspection Report

Electrical system

A safe electrical installation depends not only on correct wiring but also adequate over-current protection by the circuit breakers or fuse box. These devices prevent wires from overheating due to excessive current flow caused by short circuits or overloads. Whenever possible use breakers or fuses instead of extension cords, which can overheat and result in fire.

House Lifting Devices

These devices are used to lift homes for various reasons, including the construction of new home foundations, garage conversions, decks, and porches. Piers are usually driven into the ground with hydraulic force or by pounding. They also can be screwed in by hand. When boards are put up on the outside of the pier to hold back dirt during construction, they must be attached securely at both ends, using metal plates on one side and screws through the wood on the other side. (If not securely attached they could fail.)

Roofing materials

Inspection of roof covering is important since a leaky roof is a chronic problem. If the roof does not leak, it probably will last as long as the structural elements of the house. To assess any deterioration of this element, look for missing or cracked shingles and broken or curling tabs that allow water to enter under shingles. Examine the surface of the sheathing directly below the ridges of the roof first because the damage is more likely here than anywhere else on a sloping roof. Look at all flashings around skylights and dormers, especially those areas where two different materials come together such as brick and metal flashing.


Keep gutters clean so they can do their job effectively carrying rainwater away from your home’s foundation through a downspout. If gutters get clogged with leaves and debris, water backs up behind them and overflows, carrying muck from the roof into flowerbeds or onto your patio below. Gutters that are full of holes will allow the same result.

Exterior siding

Examine closely what condition your siding is in because this is a major exterior element of the house. A large number of defects could indicate a larger problem with the integrity of the exterior sheathing. Look for broken or missing pieces, blisters, buckles on wood sidings, check if nails on vinyl sidings are loose or missing. Check paint color on metal sidings to make sure they match the original color scheme on your house.

Let Us Show You More About Your Home Inspection at Bell Shah Law

When it comes time to have your home inspected, make sure you know what it will cover. These are only a few items to expect on your home inspection report. Call us now at Bell Shah Law to learn the rest!

What Goes Into a Remote Closing and Could It Help You?

What Goes Into a Remote Closing and Could It Help You?

When unable to attend an in-person for the purpose of buying a home, you can carry out the entire process from any location on the planet. Thanks to recent technological advances used to conduct virtual meetings, such as Zoom and Skype, and DocuSign for securely transferring critical documents, doing a remote closing is easier than ever.

You Can Do All In-Person Procedures Remotely

Traditional closings call for many moving pieces, including:

  • Notarized copies of all documents from the builders or title company’s office
  • Purchasing information about the home
  • Appraisals and home inspection documentation

After completing the closing, the courthouse must receive copies of all contractual data. Handling these activities remotely requires some extra time and energy. However, it’s extremely helpful for those whose schedules don’t permit in-person transactions. Many buyers today already carry out remote closings.

You Can Also Do Remote Notarizations, Document Signings, and Payments

Most documents for real estate deals require notarization. However, you can handle notarizations without having to hold in-person meetings. For instance, in a virtual meeting via Zoom, individuals can show ID to a notary, who can then scan and fax the documents with the appropriate signature. You can also handle virtual conferences in conjunction with services like DocuSign. They offer options like eSignature, which is a system for signing documents electronically on various devices.

Where a traditional closing may require a cashier’s check or certified funds, virtual closings often use wire transfers. The technological advances of recent decades now allow almost all such business transactions to be accomplished virtually. However, it’s important to consult the professionals involved in a given case to fully understand how to complete a virtual closing.

For More Help with Remote Closings, Contact Bell & Shah Law Today

For top-notch help in carrying out a remote closing, contact Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today. We will have you discuss your situation with one of our knowledgeable real estate lawyers, who can assist you with completing all stages of the process.

Understanding Bylaws before Buying a New House

Understanding Bylaws before Buying a New House

Purchasing a home in a development with a homeowners association (HOA) can look like a wonderful idea until you violate one of the HOA’s bylaws, which are designed to maintain an orderly community and prevent members from actions that might bring down property values. However, these rules also control members’ decisions in modifying their property and other areas and are at times seen as encroaching on individual freedom. Bylaw violations can result in hefty fines for those who fail to follow the rules.

Fines are regulated by state laws and are intended to be reasonable, with their purpose being to generate compliance, not income for the association. Whatever their function may be, it’s important to understand an HOA’s bylaws, and the following are some steps to take before joining one of these communities.

Study the Contract

If you own a vehicle that bears your company’s name, and your HOA’s bylaws forbid that, you’ll have to either buy another vehicle or live somewhere else. Don’t be concerned that the documents are legal contracts. Appropriately written HOA texts should contain wording that any layperson can understand.

The covenants that delineate what can and can’t be done with the property are filed with the local county, so potential buyers can study them before deciding if they want to live there. However, HOA bylaws, which may also contain limitations, are not submitted to the government, so they need to be acquired from the homeowners association.

Learn about HOA Fees and How the Money is Used

HOA fees typically levied as yearly dues, cover the cost of insurance, landscape maintenance, and other communal operating costs. Check to see if the dues are capped and how frequently they can be increased. It’s also a good idea to learn about the association’s financial reserves, checking if the reserves are fully funded and if they contain enough money to cover emergencies.

Look into Insurance Coverage

HOA insurance should cover disasters such as fires and tornadoes, but make sure to learn how much and what type of insurance your HOA has. For example, the outside of your property should be covered by the HOA. Insurance can also protect an association against lawsuits.

Complaint Resolution

An HOA’s bylaws establish the number of seats on the board of directors, and this number may be influenced by the developers. The fewer board members, the better the chances are that developers will have disputes ruled in their favor.

The contract should detail how to file complaints, which is best done in writing, along with documentation, such as bills for work that the HOA should cover.

If you’re planning to buy a home in a community with an HOA, give us a call anytime at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC. We’ll be glad to assist you with any questions you may have about the ins and outs of HOA bylaws.

As a Landlord, Do You Have Obligations with Security Deposit Funds?

As a Landlord, Do You Have Obligations with Security Deposit Funds?

Usually provided by a renter during or before the signing of a lease, a security deposit is an amount of money, typically one month’s rent, held by a landlord or property manager to cover repairs for damages beyond ordinary wear and tear or any outstanding rent after a renter has moved out. In many states the amount of funds used for security deposits is limited by law. In Illinois, a security deposit needs to be included in most types of residential leases and rental agreements. The following is a discussion of Illinois laws dealing with the limits of security deposit funds, along with their use and return.

Amounts Charged for Security Deposits

Illinois law does not regulate the amount that can be charged for security deposits, but city and county laws vary on this subject, so it’s a good idea to check if your municipality or county places a cap on security deposits made by residential renters.

Deadline for Returning Security Deposits

Illinois law stipulates that for properties containing five units or more, renters’ security deposits must be returned from 30 to 45 days after the renters move out, depending on if the renters question deductions taken from their deposits or if landlords provide detailed statements and receipts.

Other information Landlords Need to Know Regarding Security Deposits

Besides adhering to Illinois laws on security deposit limits and returns, landlords in Illinois have to pay interest on security deposits held for more than six months if renting 25 or more units in either one building or in a group of buildings on adjacent properties.

Since security deposits are refundable, minus the above-mentioned deductions, it’s important to know the state regulations and best ways to handle these funds. Keeping itemized records is also advisable in order to be well-prepared should a dispute with a renter arise. If you have any questions or concerns about the state laws that apply to your rental property, contact Bell & Shaw Law, LLC for a free consultation. Our knowledgeable real estate lawyers will be glad to assist you.

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